Monday, August 25, 2008

Mr Thabo Mbeki is something!

Matt tipped us off, you gotta wonder about this guy. Check out this link.

Friday, August 22, 2008

PS: Junk Scientist?

Got some emails urging me to revisit Breggin. After doing so I admit there are some indications Breggin's opinions may or may not be worthy of your attention. His testimony has a way of getting tossed out in court, for example.

So maybe I should relist his blog link under "blogs to be taken with a grain of salt."

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Remain Silent

Aaron came across a good link about the right to remain silent. Quite fascinating.

Go to the next part to get the response.

Just another example of how easy it is to believe you don't need the Bill of Rights if you are a law-abiding citizen.


Another link from this blogger.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Virginia Tech Lawsuits Revisited

Berry picking thoughts are in eclipse, and now back to ranting. [g]

My next posts may be about my experiences with the medical community. If so, let's start out with the psychiatric division. I wouldn't go near these people with a ten foot pole. I truly believe that in future times that the practice of subscribing so many drugs for so many things will be considered the scandal of our day.

Think that the parents who brought lawsuits over the Virginia Tech shooting were out of line? I thought so, but check out the link and come to your own conclusions. I'm starting to feel a little sympathy for those parents if they knew these allegations.

Here are some highlights:

"Almost certainly, the police were hampered in taking appropriate actions by being encouraged to view Cho as a potential psychiatric patient rather than as a perpetrator. It's not politically correct to bring criminal charges against someone who is "mentally ill" and it's not politically correct to prosecute him or to remove him from the campus. Yet that's what was needed to protect the students. Two known episodes of stalking, setting a fire, and his threatening behavior in class should have been more than enough for the university administration to bring charges against him and to send him off campus."

"How would a police action have affected Cho? Would it have humiliated him and made him more violent? There's no way to have certainty about this, but anyone with experience dealing with threatening people knows that a good dose of "reality," a confrontation with the law, is much more of a wake up call and a deterrent than therapeutic coddling."

Thank God for people like Breggin.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I don't think I posted this before, a "wanted" poster for wineberries.

Item 2: Marsha sent a link explaining the concern about the raid on the Berwyn Heights mayor. The link I sent around was too lame, sorry.

I looked and looked for a you-tube or other video for the skit Dave Chapelle's old show did that was a spoof on Law and Order. But the premise was, "what if" the police conducted white collar crime arrests the way they do drug busts? It served as commentary on race relations, too.
I really thought of the skit when this news came out. They shoot the dog and otherwise terrorize the white couple in a manner reminiscent of the raid in the news now. Meanwhile, in role reversal in the skit, Chapelle plays an Af/A drug dealer who is mollycoddled. If you saw it you will remember in the end he joyfully takes the "Fif" over and over again.

There is some evidence that the skit is out there on the internet, somewhere if ever so briefly. I did find some sites where it has been "yanked." Warning, if you come across the video but have never watched Chapelle, the show can be pretty profane and just plain gross. Sorry I couldn't come up with it. Remarkable that basically Chapelle warned the police that they should never make this mistake, yet here they have done just that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Huckleberries, Wineberries, and MD

OK, listen up Louise, here's the current developments on berry picking.

*we need something closer.
*Matt and Marsha, who live in Maryland, like to pick berries.
*I used to hunt in Maryland, and have an idea about some good spots.
*I would like to check out both sides of the Potomac, actually.
*there's a new development: we might be able to try a new berry.

When I checked out Bill Heavey's blog, I found out that he basically is blogging about

"his quest to feed himself for one year by hunting, fishing, cultivating, and gathering wild foods around his suburban Washington, D.C. area home."
So far it's been more than just about hunting and fishing sure enough, and naturally in the summer he's got to be thinking about berry picking. Quoting him in one post (he has a great sense of humor) he vents a little about the frustration of trying to use one of the guides you can buy today:

"Personally, I’m not finding the green world quite so accommodating. In fact, I’m starting to believe that many plants have no desire whatsoever to be eaten."
He hasn't breathed a word about huckleberries, but is one to something about what he is calling wineberries, apparently these. Judging by his post above, what he is on to is that transplanted Asians (evidently) have been planting in their yards a variety that has escaped and is really thriving in the wild. I'm gleaning that people are really catching on to finding and picking them now. Furthermore, there may be things about them that are an improvement over blackberries. Perhaps a typically better picking situation? As far as eating blackberries, the seeds bug me (making wine out of them seems to be the best use) while huckleberry seeds just don't seem to be a problem. Hopefully, this is also the case with wineberries. Ideally, it will mean two different types of berries we can pick locally. Having a choice is good, as huckleberries sometimes are a bust. We'll have to see how it goes with the wineberries, Heavey's last post on the subject gives some pause.

I think this'll have to be the last at my blog on huckleberries, as I'm sure I've exhausted everybody if not the subject. There is one more thing in the vein of a tongue-in-cheek "that really bothers me" but I'll save it for another day when I might also combine it with thoughts on cornbread, yankees, and "how they do it up North."

BTW I am getting the following feedback sort of sotto voce:
*claims that only the South does deep-dish is incorrect.
*I am some kind of lard-monger!
*my pie is too tart and I should not use lemon juice, or not so much of it.

So far no one has tried to defend the heinous act of putting sugar into cornbread.

This subject amazed me. Once I started blogging it just poured out of me. Go figure, brother Forrest gets the credit this year for advocating we really give the huckleberries a go.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

All Huckleberries to Me

When picking these berries, I make quite an effort to find taller bushes. This makes for less stooping when picking, and potentially you can find a few bushes with the motherload, since taller bushes tend to be larger generally. I think there have been times when half of what I picked came off such finds. We tend to call these bigger bushes deerberries, but as mentioned in an earlier post, in some cases may be juneberries, bilberries, or serviceberries. In order to really identify these things correctly, evidently you have to study them when they have their blossoms. Certainly, judging by the variation in size and color on the taller bushes alone, more than one species or sub-species is involved.

Here is how I think someone could put all the rest of us to shame picking these things:
*quit your job and move near the patch so you can check it constantly.
*in particular try to ascertain when the larger bushes are really ripening.
*head out on the ideal morning and pick a gallon or so, perhaps more.

I believe this is possible, but it is also possible that the 'green berry' factor will limit success. You just can't pick them green, I tried taking a bush home and seeing if I could simulate leaving them "vine on" to ripen, but this failed completely. And when they do ripen, the birds etc. are very effective competition. So it does seem that to some degree you have the problem of finding too many green ones and fast-disappearing ripe ones.

This last trip I was awestruck by one large plant I found. It had a few branches that grew over my head by several feet like many of the others, but this time I noticed that these were coming out of some kind of old stump. It occurred to me that what I was looking at was quite old; the plant looked vigorous, and I got the idea that it would continue to be able to send new shoots out of this old stump as needed fairly indefinitely. It was inconceivable to me that it would only be a decade or so old. If an expert looked at it and said it was 20, 30, 50 years old or more it just wouldn't surprise me.

Running out of topic? not yet, stay tuned.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Making a Pie

I carry a recipe in my head, and don't claim to be a real cook, so I wouldn't mind if somebody wants to point out any stupidity they spot in my procedure. I get pretty good reviews, though.

In my book, the main thing is to make a Deep Dish Cobbler. This seems to be a Southern thing, and certainly to me it is the only way to go. I am quite opinionated about it, and am ready to believe that some of the things they do "up North," such as putting sugar in cornbread, were the real causes of the Civil War! Taking huckleberries and making some kind of thin spread with thin crust on top is just beyond the pale! Alton Brown does sometimes cover Southern cooking and notes

"Now where I grew up, a cobbler is usually a very deep dish application with layers of hot fruit interspersed amongst these kind of thick layers of crust."

I'd subscribe to that, including that the crust be thick, although as far as layers, not sure what he means, but for me it just goes on top.

Now you might be better off following one of Alton's recipes, but here's what I do. One good thing about a 'winging it' recipe is that it fits any quantity of berry that you have:


Take a cool iron skillet and grease it up a bit [very lightly] with shortening. Start stewing your huckleberries in a separate pan, adding lemon juice instead of water. [After some advice that what I come up with is too tart, I am going to try not so much lemon juice, maybe half lemon juice and half water]. Add a couple of tablespoons of sugar, seeing that it tastes plenty sweet as you start the heat. Heat the mixture until the berries start breaking up. ESSENTIAL STEP: the berries now release a bunch of flavor that will overwhelm the sugar you put in, taste again and add more sugar as needed!

At this point make biscuit dough enough to cover the top. Add more shortening than normal, until the mixture acts pretty crumbly. This will mean it will be flaky. I don't add any sugar myself. You can use Bisquick if you add more shortening to it. If the stewed berries cool a bit that's good.

Pour the berry stew into the skillet after you have double-checked the sugar level. Cut the biscuit dough into strips, and put a row of dough around the edge of the skillet. Lay strips of dough on top of this allowing a few spots to be uncovered. Place in oven at about 375 degrees. When the filling is bubbling and the dough has started to brown, it's done.
IMHO, a recipe for failure here.

Stay tuned!